Happy September – time is flying quickly and the end of the year will be here before you know it. We have a few items to update you on at Life Planning Partners, Inc.
Our Shred Event is Friday, September 17th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Normally, we would call it a “Shred Party” and have food and beverages. Sadly, with the COVID resurge from Delta, we are not going to make it into a party this year.
You are welcome to drop your items to shred at the office any time before the event – we’ll keep it stored until the truck comes. If you prefer to see your items shredded directly, just show up between 2:00 and 4:00 on Friday, September 17th.
We are so sad not to have a party! Hopefully vaccination rates will continue to increase and we can do a real party next year.
The entire LPP crew is vaccinated and we restarted in-person meetings a couple of months ago – it has been so good seeing people! We also went to having three of us in the office at a time.
With the COVID delta surge, we are being prudent in reverting back to two of us in the office at a time and we are limiting in-person meetings. We will continue this until the numbers head back down. As of now, it looks like everything is leveling off, so hopefully we’ll be back to our “new normal” in a month.
Net Worth and the Portal
Many clients use the portal every few days and rely on it to monitor cash flow and net worth. The portal pulls data from many sources, and sometimes one source may update on a different date than the others. This can cause temporary net worth fluctuations and confusion.
For example – let’s say you built up a lot of cash in your checking from a big bonus and decide to move $500,000 from your checking account to Fidelity to invest. If you glance at your portal on the day the money moved into Fidelity, you may see a miraculous rise in your net worth of $500,000. So exciting! And then you look a couple days later, and all of a sudden that money is gone.
Where did the money go? Depending on the bank, the transaction of the money leaving your checking account may not show up for two or three days. So that brief excitement of thinking you have an extra $500,000 is sadly not real.
You’ll also see false rises in your net worth when you sell and buy homes – we have to manually add those transactions, and the cash you moved around to buy the home may have you looking richer than you are once we remove the old home from the portal and add the new one.
Carolyn Taking Vacation
Carolyn will be on a vacation in the north east from September 3rd until September 13th. She plans to totally unplug! If you have anything pressing on your mind for her, please reach out by Thursday. Of course, the rest of the crew is well equipped to handle it all, except maybe your COVID questions and deep tax planning. Thankfully, you have doctors who can answer your COVID questions and rarely is tax planning an emergency.
Best Practices for Protecting Your Information
Over the past year the rate of fraud attempts has increased significantly, especially in the financial services field. A study by TransUnion found a 109% increase in fraud in just the first four months of this year compared to the last four months of 2020. While technology has been great in keeping us all connected during the pandemic, it can also create vulnerabilities for fraudsters to gain access to your personal information.
LPP is committed to helping our clients protect themselves and their assets. Here are some tips and reminders on how you can help keep your information safe.
Never send personal information in an email unprotected. This means social security numbers, dates of birth etc. While this seems to make sense it is easy to attach a document and forget that some of this information may be in it. LPP uses a service called Sharefile to encrypt documents we send to you via email. You can send us documents securely by uploading them to your vault or asking us to send you a secure Sharefile link.
Beware of Phishing Scams. A phishing scam is where the thief will try to get your information by pretending to be someone else. For example, they send an email message that appears to be from your bank and asks you to click the link to update your password. DON'T DO IT. If you need to update your password go directly to the bank's site and follow the steps. If you receive a call from the “IRS” or “Microsoft” simply hang up. The IRS will mail you a notice before any call is made and typically doesn’t call unless you owe a lot or are being audited. Microsoft will never call you to remove a virus!
Be careful using autofill programs. While these programs can make our lives easier by filling in our username or password, they also create word banks that cyber thieves can steal from your computer if they gain access through a virus. Instead create a spreadsheet or place where you can keep a log of your passwords.
Place a freeze on your credit with each of the credit bureaus. This will prevent creditors from being able to access your credit and thus keep fraudsters from opening up new accounts or lines of credit in your name. Krissy is happy to help you set this up if you haven’t already.
Call us immediately if you think you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. We are here to help you untangle the mess and will let Fidelity know to lock down your accounts until the situation is resolved.
We are working through projections and tax planning for the rest of the year. Insurance and estate are just a couple of months from being done for all our clients.
There may be a big tax and estate law change by year end. We are paying attention and reaching out to those who are likely to be affected. Overall, it should not impact the majority of our clients.
And a reminder – if you are doing charitable donations from your IRA (for everyone older than 70 ½) – please try to get those to us by October. For the donation to count for 2021, the charity must cash the check before year end. Krissy follows up with charities if it looks like the check has not been cashed. We had instances of charities not cashing checks for a while, so we ping them to make sure it happens.
As always, thank you so much for giving us a great job and letting us be a part of your life. Let us know your questions and anything we can do to improve our service.